FTSE ends week on a high as banks soar

The FTSE made up some of its mid-week blues on Friday, to end the week on a high, as Britain’s biggest banks pulled the index up.

Barclays led the pack of banks with a 7% jump in its share price after revealing that it made a net profit of £611 million in the third quarter, more than twice what the market had been expecting.

The news helped pull Barclays’ big rivals up as well. Lloyds, HSBC, and Standard Chartered were all in the FTSE’s top five best performers for the day.

However, Friday’s league was led by Rolls-Royce as the engine maker signed a new deal with the Ministry of Defence. Its shares jumped by 7.4%.

The company has had a troubling year as its share price dropped by more than half, so the deal proved a rare piece of good news.

It helped the FTSE 100 close the day up 1.3%, or 74.63 points, to end the week at 5860.28.

But shares were likely also buoyed by the pound, which lost ground against both the dollar, down 0.4% to 1.3038, and the euro, losing 0.5% to 1.1011.

The index was ahead of its European cousins, the Dax and Cac, which gained 0.7% and 1% respectively, beating their US rivals, said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

“The major European equity markets are showing strong gains. Sentiment has been lifted by last night’s news that Remdesivir, an antiviral drug produced by Gilead Sciences, received approval as a treatment by the US regulator, the FDA,” he said.

“For much of the week, stocks in Europe have incurred declines because of concerns about the health crisis and sticker restrictions. The absence of a US coronavirus relief package in the US was a factor too.”

Oil markets struggled as Brent took a tumble late in the afternoon to hit 41.87 US dollars shortly after European markets closed, a drop of 1.4%.

In company news, Holiday Inn owner Intercontinental Hotels revealed that its revenue per available room was still half of last year’s levels, despite recording from lows earlier in the year. The company’s shares dropped by 1.5%.

The London Stock Exchange Group’s shares fell by 0.9% after revealing that third-quarter gross profit rose 4% to £551 million.

McCarthy & Stone had an excellent day, jumping 40% on the news that US investor Lone Star plans to take the company private for 115p per share, or £630 million. The closing share price was 115.8p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Rolls-Royce, up 16.8p to 243.7p, Barclays, up 7.26p to 111.54p, Lloyds, up 1.37p to 29.285p, HSBC, up 14.45p to 321.4p, and Standard Chartered, up 16.1p to 399.4p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Pearson, down 8.6p to 512.4p, Just Eat Takeaway, down 150p to 9174p, Intercontinental Hotels, down 62p to 4201p, Ocado, down 29p to 2313p, and Hikma, down 28p to 2549p.